What We Played #15

It’s not unusual for several of us to have played very little.  On top of working for a living, studying, etc., much of our ‘gaming time’ is given over to TSA.  What we have left can be impinged upon by many other factors.  We’ll get to mine later but first here’s an Old Spicy ePostcard from Tuffcub:

Look at me.  Now look at the other TSA staff.  Now look at me.  I’m in Hawaii!!  Now look behind me.  It’s a hotel complex owned by the U.S. Military where they send all their heroic soldiers.  Now look in my hand.  It’s a refreshing Mojito.

Now look behind me again, it’s a squad of Marines playing beach volleyball.  Now look at me again.  I’m on a volcano!  Now look in my other hand.  There is no games controller in my hand and it’s staying that way for two weeks.  I’m on Waikiki beach.

For some reason he wanted me to pass on that message to you all. I’m sure it wasn’t designed to encourage jealousy amongst those of us stuck here in rainy sunny rainy Old Blighty, much like the fact he’s played through Deus Ex: Human Revolution a couple of times already..

[videoyoutube]Now Dan has been playing games.  First on his list is the hard to buy Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii.  Says Dan, “I’m only 7hrs in but already it’s one of my favourite games of 2011”, which means he’s putting it up there with the likes of Bastion and Solatorobo: Red the Hunter and further showing that those who have written off the Wii as a casual-party-games-only console are really missing out.


Xenoblade Chronicles has been picking up rave reviews all over; IGN have said it “is the best Japanese RPG of this generation” and Edge called it “a glowing comeback for the Japanese RPG”.  Both gave it a 9/10 in their respective reviews.  During the rest of his week Dan has been playing the “most enjoyable” SkullGirls and El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron “which has one of the craziest levels I’ve ever seen.  I would describe it, but you wouldn’t believe me…”

Lack of motivation is Toby’s excuse for eschewing ‘proper’ gaming this week having spent the majority of his gaming time playing Angry Birds.  “It’s fun, but can be frustratingly inconsistent”, he says.  “Sometimes two birds that land in the exactly same place can cause completely different levels of damage, forcing you to ponder whether it really is skill and not luck that is gaining you the rewarding stars.”

LittleBigPlanet 2 is providing “lots of fun” for Blair who is eagerly anticipating the release of the Move pack for it.  He’s finding Toy Soldiers: Cold War to be an entertaining twist on the regular tower defense genre “since you can actually control the turrets”.  Other than that Child of Eden has consumed some of his time.  “I need to find a good game to sink my teeth into,” he says, “ my gaming has been a bit here and there recently.”

Just as well this Friday sees a big AAA-title released that heralds the start of the games avalanche that accompanies the holiday season.  Might I suggest you give that one a try Blair?

You’ll already know that Alex has had an early look at ICO & Shadow of the Colossus HD.  What you may not appreciate is how much he suffered to bring you that preview, playing those two great games on their native PS2:

That’s journalism, bitches, having to fire up a game running at what feels like about 160 x 100 just to try to get a sense of comparison between Ico and Ico HD.  If nothing else, the Team Ico collection demonstrates what difference a better resolution and smoother framerate can do to exactly the same game.  This must be how PC gamers feel about, well, everything.

[drop]The thing that has stopped myself from enjoying much gaming this week is, ironically, a game; The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.  Oblivion is also where it consigned the contents of my PS3’s HDD.  I managed just five hours of sporadic play amongst six crashes, two of which corrupted the game’s installed data, requiring it to be deleted.  The sixth crash trashed the partition on the HDD, leaving the PS3 unable to recover it.

I only back up my HDD monthly now as it takes so damned long, even though it’s only about 200GBs of data and of course it would have been this weekend I took my next backup, so I’m restoring a backup from almost a month ago.  I’m about to find out how well PlayStation Plus’ ‘cloud’ game saves have worked.

Oh, and when I say I am restoring a backup, I mean I am still restoring a backup.  It’s taken over 24 hours so far, which is on a par with a restore I tried earlier this year to test how well it worked.  (Work in IT or computing long enough and you learn to test your backups from time to time.)  Seriously Sony, backup and restore is a great feature to have on the PS3 but its implementation is badly flawed given how long it takes.

How about you lot then, what have you been playing or what has been stopping you play?



  1. I would guess you have a problem with your hard disk and should replace it. Probably caused all the problems you were having with Oblivion and the eventual crash.
    I restored over 100GB the other week onto a 320GB 7200 rpm disk and it took about 3 hours.

    • Nope, I took the HDD out to check and it seems fine. I’m actually restoring to another HDD that I know is also okay.

  2. Been putting in the hours on NFS Shift since it arrived from LoveFilm on Friday. Should have platinumed it by now, but the infernal thing keeps crashing in the 5 race series in the World Tour, so I have to start from scratch. Mastered every corner, got all 250 Perfect Launches. Literally need to do the Tour (Rivals and Series Epic Badges) and put about 20km on my GT-R SpecV to get the JP Loyalty badge, then it’s off in the post and F1 2010’s on its way.

  3. part way through god of war 2, very enjoyable! :) got sports champions for a tenner from argos, now if I can only find my ps eye!!

  4. Picked up Bastion from Steam yesterday and this game is worth every cent. I love the art style and the gameplay but the narration is the cherry on top of the regular cherry on top of a sundae of awesomeness that is Bastion.

  5. I’ve been playing Deus Ex: HR, Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time.

    Deus Ex is very good for the most part, but I got to the first boss fight and lost interest. The game is at it’s best when you get to decide how to do things yourself, and making you fight a boss just kills it.

    • Boss fights are pretty much a staple of most games though, so it was probably to be expected that you might face something like that at some point surely?

      Besides, once it’s done you can get back to playing how you want to, no?

  6. This week I have been mostly playing DiRT3 (great TSA meets), GT5 (another great TSA meet lined up), GTi Club (nearly got all the trophies), The Shoot, Dead Nation (still along way from the ‘Genocidiary’ trophy) and errrr that’s about it.

    • Have you found the secret stash of zombies on the last level of Dead Nation where they’re next to a coach and all caged in – there must be a few hundred and they can’t even get you! :)

  7. Ironically I’ve been playing Oblivion again – my fifth playthrough – on the runup to the release of Skyrim, which is my most highly anticipated game since… well, since Oblivion was revealed. I’m playing as a Thief/Mage build this time through, and it’s still incredibly enjoyable despite the occasional glitch; I’ve not had any bad crashes though, which is a relief.

    I’ll soon be picking up Alice: The Madness Returns in the hope that it lives up to the previous game’s amazingness.

  8. I purchased the GOW collection and have been playing that. Oblivion has only crashed on me once and i have owned it for over a year. Prehaps it is because i threatened to snap it in half if it played up.:D I know the Gamebryo engine is very buggy but i consider TES4 to be very reliable out of the past 3 gamebryo games.(Fallout 3 is extremely buggy and Bethesada cba to patch the bugs which can be fixed and Fallout New Vegas which does crash sometimes).

    I have got too much free time at moment, so apart from playing games, i have been doing my job as the Lord Of Trailers. :D Except i was demoted by Dan this week! >:(

    I do play LBP2 from time to time.(usually trying to create a level and then facepalm when it all falls apart on me.)

    I think i was addicted to TES4 for a month when i played it last. Believe me, it is massive. I think there are over 100 hours worth of content. But some quests are a bit repetive and i hate the leveling system. I don’t want the enemies to be the same level as me. Yes, it does give me a challenge but it means that the NPCs have litte to no chance of surviving an encounter with them.

    You lucky sod Alex! I take it that you get to review it and annoy the rest of the staff by boasting that you get to do it? :-p

  9. I’ve been on holiday and gotten back for GCSE results. In celebration of good ones, I’ve just started work on Burnout Paradise 202%

  10. Outside of TSA meets (MSA, Dirt 3, SSARPBC) I’ve played quite a mix of stuff this week. On the retail games side, more EDF, got back into Sports Champions (2 trophies away from platinum), also got back into Modnation Racers (picked up a 2 of the 3 major dlc packs). From PSN, Gatling Gears and ARKEDO Jump (which I’ve literally just completed, although I have no ideas on what the secret trophies are).

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